Speakers Series

Notable speakers are the highlight of our monthly meetings. We showcase industry leaders — writers, editors, publishers, agents, and teachers of all kinds — who inform our members and guests about topics related to the art and craft of writing, the publishing industry, and the business of writing.

The “Member Spotlight” features members sharing their good works. We recognize published and emerging CWC members with a few minutes at the mic before each speaker to talk about their journey, read their work, and answer questions. Contact us if you are a member and are ready for your literal fifteen minutes of fame!

Get tickets for the next event on EventBrite

Members only: Buy a full-year ticket pass and support other writers

Interviews with Recent Speakers

Interview with Annalisa Parent, author of Storytelling for Pantsers

Our speaker for Sunday September 19th Annalisa Parent helps writers to finish, publish and sell their novels. She owns and

Interview with our Race as Context Panelists

We’re so excited to wrap up our 2020-2021 speaker series with a unique conversation between Alex Sato, Gabriel Campbell, Jhon

More Speaker Interviews

Speaker Series Events

Get Known Everywhere for Authors featuring Jill Lublin: November 15th

Get Known Everywhere for Authors featuring Jill Lublin: November 15th

Many authors have a great message but haven’t learned how to use a book to leverage expertise and generate revenue. As an author, it is important to understand the real purpose of publicity – to boost credibility and amplify your visibility. If you want to be known as an author of influence, you’ve got to…

Read More
The Amazing Life of Feisty Ina Coolbrith, America’s First Poet Laurate – October 18th

The Amazing Life of Feisty Ina Coolbrith, America’s First Poet Laurate – October 18th

Writers often need courage, whether it is to meet a national event, a personal challenge, or just to face a blank page. In these instances we can look to our own history to find the inner strength to face our most profound challenges. At the culmination of California Writer's Week, historical author Aleta George will…

Read More

Finding & Working with an Agent with Literary Agent Andy Ross – September 20th

Our speaker series returns on Sunday, September 20th with Oakland literary agent Andy Ross. Ross will detail the steps you need to take before beginning work with a literary agent. Ross will help you determine whether your project is right for commercial publishers and he'll explain how to write effective query letters and book proposals.…

Read More
May 17th SPEAKER—Paul Shirley—”Writing Like an Athlete to Build Creative Focus”

May 17th SPEAKER—Paul Shirley—”Writing Like an Athlete to Build Creative Focus”

Building an Athlete’s Discipline and Focus into Your Writing Practice In the midst of a global pandemic, when there’s so much time on our hands staying at home, writers are having trouble getting things done. Paul Shirley, a former professional basketball player, will speak about how he applied an athlete’s focus to his writing career,…

Read More
3/15 – PANEL DISCUSSION with Bay Area Small Press Editors

3/15 – PANEL DISCUSSION with Bay Area Small Press Editors

What's the difference between working with a small press and a large mainstream publisher? Should I submit my work to a small press? Do local publishers want local authors? Why pitch to a small press if I can be a small press? Learn about it in our panel discussion with small press editors.

Read More
2/29 – "Call of the Wild" History Walk & Reading with CWC Writers

2/29 – "Call of the Wild" History Walk & Reading with CWC Writers

See the new Jack London movie and learn about its history at the location where London became a writer.

Read More

February 16th SPEAKER—Jan Steckel on Poetry and Activism

On February 16th the California Writers Club – Berkeley branch welcomes award-winning poet and activist Jan Steckel as a featured guest of the club. Steckel will speak on how poets and writers can effect change through their writing. She will speak on advocacy, representation, and documenting social conditions. Steckel has experience to share on using…

Read More

"We're All in Freefall" — Interview with 11/17 featured author Lily Iona MacKenzie

In Freefall: A Divine Comedy, Lily Iona MacKenzie zeroes in on a fundamental truth: We’re all in freefall, and that’s the real divine comedy. No matter how old we are, we’re still trying to “find ourselves” and discover what we want out of life. Meet Lily Iona MacKenzie, a new member this season, at the…

Read More

11/17 SPEAKER – "You Can Be a Winning Writer" with Joan Gelfland

In this participatory workshop, author Joan Gelfand will discuss her 4 C’s approach to becoming a successful author. Joan will discuss how to incorporate craft, commitment, community, and confidence into a writing practice. Joan and her clients have produced significant results by incorporating this approach into their own writing practices. Accompanied by a thirty-minute Power Point,…

Read More

10/20 SPEAKER – "How Writers Can Avoid Legal Trouble" with Nicholas Jollymore, esq

Writers can get into legal trouble without knowing it. Learn best practices and get the basics about libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, subpoenas, confidential sources, and the California Shield Law from Literary Lawyer Nicholas J. Jollymore.  About Nick Jollymore Nick Jollymore has run a legal practice out of a home office since he moved…

Read More

Interview with Featured Member Gark Mavigan

Get to know he first featured member of our 2019-2020 speaker series: poet and hip-hop artist Gark Mavigan. Originally from Stockton, he was a founding member of the city's first slam team to compete the world's largest youth poetry slam. He has performed at The White House and the National Poetry Slam, sharing stages with…

Read More

9/15/19 – SPEAKER: "Causes Cross Genres" with September Williams

Causes Cross Genres: Infusing Facts into Fiction with September Williams is the first event in our annual speaker series. Some people find understanding through technical language and academic conveyance. But almost all people can learn through well-constructed Aristotelian Plot Curves.  Using accurate scientific, medical or other precise technical information to inform fictional narratives is not for the faint of heart. It does not mean…

Read More

5/19 PANEL: "The Working Writer"

Meet the panelists who will be featured in our final event before the summer hiatus: "The Working Writer" The panel explores work life balance issues for professional writers. Our panel will feature three writers with different relationships to work. Thaddeus Howze makes a living with his writing. Paul Corman-Roberts makes a living doing something related…

Read More
April 21st— "Plan Your Novel Like a Pro" with Beth Barany

April 21st— "Plan Your Novel Like a Pro" with Beth Barany

At our April meeting Beth Barany will help you brainstorm the steps to create your novel—from character development to plot structure to story themes and world building—so you can start writing your novel with clarity and confidence.We’ll do bite-sized exercises step-by-step to help you stretch your imagination and get excited about the writing process.If you…

Read More
SPEAKER 3/17/19— "From Print to Performance: Adapting Books to Film and Theater" with Victoria Zackheim

SPEAKER 3/17/19— "From Print to Performance: Adapting Books to Film and Theater" with Victoria Zackheim

March 17th acclaimed writer of The Bone Weaver and other bestsellers will share her substantial knowledge on how to get your works adapted to film and theater. We will also have a reading from featured member Leena Prasad.

Read More

Write Angles: February 2019

read the entire newsletter here The Wind In Your Sails Some words from your president February is the month of love, and it’s also Black History Month, a time to expand our focus on who has really shaped the world. The California Writers Club, going strong (or strong-ish) since 1909 (yes, it’s our 110th birthday),…

Read More
Aqueila Lewis-Ross Shares the Power of Poetry February 17th

Aqueila Lewis-Ross Shares the Power of Poetry February 17th

Poetry is defined as “a type of literature, or artistic writing, that attempts to stir a reader’s imagination or emotions.” But poetry is also the most powerful tool that we can use for self-healing when our emotions are already stirred. Reading and writing poetry can even help us to survive when we have lost everything.…

Read More

SPEAKER 11/18: "Mission: Utopia—Writing to Share an Urgent Vision" with Pat Ravasio

As a young journalist, Patricia Ravasio was electrified by a day with iconic American genius and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), who urged her to share the vision of his urgent messages with the world, hoping to help humanity awaken in time. When Fuller’s dire predictions came true on 9/11, Ravasio realized she must face up to her…

Read More
SPEAKER 9/16—Marty Nemko, "The Arc of My Career"

SPEAKER 9/16—Marty Nemko, "The Arc of My Career"

In his road to redemption, Joe has become a successful writer, editor and anthologist.  He will speak to how the truth will set us free in any genre, and any project.  Clifford will share the lessons he has learned, insecurities about his success, and his insights of utilizing our struggles to become our strengths.

Read More
CWC Author BOOK LAUNCH June 16th!

CWC Author BOOK LAUNCH June 16th!

June 16th we gather to celebrate the CWC authors published this year and last. Our final meeting before the summer break, don't miss this chance to meet and mix with fellow writers.

Read More

A concise list of previous CWC Berkeley Speakers

Get announcements of upcoming speakers by subscribing to our blog (see right column) >>>


Do you have a suggestion for a speaker?  We are always on the lookout for lively presenters, people with unique perspectives.  Send us your suggestions!